Manila-MILF peace deal inked

Manila-MILF peace deal inked

MANILA - After four decades of fighting, the pen proved to be mightier than the sword when a comprehensive peace treaty was inked for the restive southern Philippines.

Malaysia's role as peacemaker is now etched in the annals of history when the Philippine Government and the once-rebellious Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) formally agreed to implement a peace framework.

The treaty will also have a positive impact on Sabah as it borders the planned Bangsamoro region in southern Philippines.

Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, invited as a special guest to witness the signing of the Comprehensive Agreement Bangsamoro (CAB) at the Malacanang Palace yesterday, said Malaysia was honoured to have done its part in seeking a politically-negotiated settlement to end one of the world's longest running insurgencies, which had claimed over 100,000 lives.

Malaysia had hosted 43 rounds of talks since 2001 to help both sides come together.

"We wish for nothing more than peace and prosperity for our brothers and sisters in Bangsamoro, and in the Philippines," the Prime Minister told a gathering of more than 1,000 guests who were gathered under marquees at the sprawling grounds of the presidential palace.

Philippine president Benigno Aquino paid tribute to Malaysia for its role. "We have set an example for the world on how trust can move humanity forward," he said.

MILF chairman Murad Ebrahim reached out to all ethnic and religious groups in Mindanao, including those opposed to the CAB such as the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF).

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